Friday, 17 October 2014

To the sea

Further adventures in still life.

This session was about encouraging us to look at things differently, taking our cue from more modern artists' take on the genre; bolder use of colour, tilting the plane, multiple points of perspective and so forth.
It was stiflingly hot in the studio, which didn't help, but everyone got in the swing of it.
This was my effort:

Different objects from different angles and I'm quite happy with it.

I also had a few minutes to draw a shell for you.

You're welcome :-)

Friday, 10 October 2014

In the garden

Tonight's session was again focussing on colour and shading techniques; cross-hatching, feathering and so forth. I went for a loose composition and finished up by emphasising the outlines to tie the composition together.

It was an enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Last chance to see

The very lovely exhibition of Scottish Colourist JD Fergusson, at the equally lovely Pallant House Gallery comes to an end soon. Suggest you get along there if at all possible!
For more, see

An afternoon well spent

One of my favourite works is Flaming June, so after visiting the Royal Academy recently I took the opportunity to head further west and visit the home of its creator.

Tucked away in Holland Park is the studio home of Frederic Lord Leighton the Victorian artist often associated with the pre-Raphaelites. If you're at a loose end one afternoon and happen to be in the area (and it's easily reached by bus and tube) it's well worth a visit.

Unprepossessing from the outside, Leighton House is a little gem of Victorian high camp. The hall is sumptuously decorated with Arabian inspired tiling of deep blue, some original, some by William de Morgan, and with a fountain under a two-storey domed ceiling with wooden lattice work windows. Upstairs, passing a stuffed peacock, is his rather Spartan bedroom, luxurious drawing room and magnificent studio space. Plenty of his works and inspirations are on show making it an hour or so well spent.

Further information can be found at

Monday, 6 October 2014

drawing (n), a picture or diagram made with...

Drawing is something I love to do, yet get so frustrated by. I think I'm reasonably ok at it, but remain plagued by insecurity and, most crucially, a lack of practice. I spend too much time not drawing, what with work and home commitments, that I actually buy time to draw by signing up for classes.

Anyway, up until now I felt fairly confident I could give a meaningful definition of what a drawing is and among all the words I might have used to define it, 'sound' would have been absent. Then along comes the 2014 Jerwood Prize and everything seems to have changed. Alison Carlier has been awarded the First Prize for her 1 minute 15 second audio work entitled Adjectives, lines and marks which she describes as “An open-ended audio drawing, a spoken description of an unknown object”. Hmm. I can just about see her reasoning; sound tracks when viewed vertically are reminiscent of ancient pots (the object in question was a Roman pot) and that the mental process of making a drawing (on paper) and describing the shape out loud can be thought of as similar; "the voice tracks the thing just as the eye might tracing the image on paper" as Alison herself says. But I remain to be convinced that similar = same.

On a level, I can see where such an audio description could be used as a drawing but I genuinely don't know if it applies in this case: By their very nature, the visual arts are problematic for those with sight disabilities, so I can absolutely accept that a blind artist might take an object and use sound to describe it and call it a drawing. But if a sighted person does it, what then? And how do we judge it anyway?

Curiously, I haven't noticed much of a hoo-har in the press about this either; after all, there's always plenty of criticism of weird/wonderful/bonkers Turner Prize winners - Martin Creed anyone? And yet the fact that a major drawing prize is won by an audio track has passed by without a murmur.

And that's fine. Except, does it mean I can enter my next sketch for a Grammy?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Red coffee pot

Struggling to find a common ground between accuracy and expression. A lot of the time was spent experimenting with colour; the actual sketch was completed quite quickly and so perhaps not as accurately as it might have been. But then, you have no idea what the pot really looks like do you?